YEREVAN—Armenian National Congress leader Levon Ter-Petrosian explained Tuesday that his lack of support for Heritage party leader Raffi Hovannisian’s hunger strike stemmed from his strict Christian principles.
“Christianity to me is primarily a moral code [of conduct],” the radical opposition newspaper, Haykakan Zhamank, on Tuesday quoted Ter-Petrosian as explaining his snub. “This code categorically rejects the blatant display of virtues—piety, charity, humility—including a public display of fasting. When a virtue is put on exhibit, it ceases to be a virtue.”
Hovannisian, who began a hunger strike in Liberty Square, demanding the snap polls in Armenia on March 15, was snubbed by Ter-Petrosian and other Armenian National Congress leaders last Thursday, when after leading a rally to Liberty Square ignored Hovannisian, despite reports that upon entering Liberty Square the crowd of protesters began chanting “Raffi, Raffi…”
Hovannisian saw this as a politically calculated step from Ter-Petrosian and claimed that the first president of the republic was back-peddling from his convictions, upon which the Armenian National Congress was created.
Ter-Petrosian continued his explanation by quoting a prominent Armenian Church figure from the fifth century, Hovhan Madakuni, who said: “Satan destroys a person that’s fasting who puts himself above others and wants to make his actions public for others to admire his courage.”
“If Raffi Hovannisian went on a hunger strike with specific political demands, instead of showing off, I would welcome that and express my full support,” added Ter-Petrosian.